Although it’s not discussed every class, at some point most yoga instructors will explain the meaning of the Sanskrit word “Namaste” as something along the lines of “I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace. When we honor this place within each other, we are one.” Or, if you prefer brevity, something along the lines of “The divine in me acknowledges and honors the divine in you.”
Just ’cause it’s a little funky, my favorite translation is “The awesome in me acknowledges and honors the awesome in you.”
It’s convenient when the entire class is perfectly synchronized in saying “Namaste” because the meaning of the word is self-evident in that synchronization. But how often during class, or even when you’re actually saying the word, do you think about how you are connecting to the other yogis in the room?
Well I’ve been thinking about it a bit lately, and I think I’ve figured some things out from it…
Obviously the point isn’t to look around the room throughout class and keep an eye on how everyone is doing instead of focusing on yourself, it’s the exact opposite. You focus on the present moment within your own body to find that divine place within yourself and at the end of class, when we’re all in that place within ourselves, we realize that our individual journeys have taken us all to the same place together where we can truly respect each other.
Why this was a revaluation for me is because I have this problem where I tend to be a people pleaser. I’ve tried for most of my life to agree with everyone, all the time and do whatever it is that they think is the right thing to do. I have the best intentions to try to make everyone happy, but when I end up not being happy it doesn’t really work out for anyone at all anyway.
So what I’ve gotten from thinking about Namaste in this way is the way to be fair to the people you care about is not to drown out your own voice inside with what other people are telling you, because when you listen to your own voice you’ll find yourself in a place where you can be content and honor those around you as well.
Don’t fake it to make other people happy, focus on yourself in order to respect those around you.